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Panama City protects personnel through rapidly developed PPE

By Katherine Mapp | NSWC PCD Public Affairs | April 15, 2020

PANAMA CITY, Fla. —

To aid in flattening the curve of COVID-19, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) is protecting its employees through use of personal protective equipment (PPE) made in-house.

Due to the lack of commercially available PPE during these times, NSWC PCD’s Rigging Shop and Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (AML) is supporting the command's mission essential personnel by providing a rapid fabricated solution using capabilities and talents of our personnel on base.

NSWC PCD’s Rigging Shop is sewing non-medical, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved design with two layers of 100% cotton fabric and elastic bands.

Additionally, AML personnel are developing non-medical FDA approved 3D printed mask frames made out of plastic and elastic bands. The mask frames are printed in small, medium, and large sizes. After printing, these frame masks are equipped with elastic, a coffee filter, and a sheet of 100% cotton to the customer. The customer can then make modifications to the elastic, coffee filter, and cotton to create the perfect size for their individual needs.

"In these tough times, our team is glad to assist in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Chuck Self, NSWC PCD AML lead. “3D printing has been a great way to rapidly respond to the need for personal protective equipment as a stopgap while the private sector catches up to full manufacturing capabilities."

Capt. Aaron Peters, NSWC PCD commanding officer, said these protective measures are essential to continuing mission success.

"The mission essential work we do at NSWC PCD must continue in order to keep programs on track and our country safe,” said Peters. “We recognize that we have a responsibility to maintain social distancing and help stop the spread of COVID-19. By developing and providing the PPE masks in-house, we are ensuring that we are helping to flatten the curve.”

The Rigging Shop team is working to sew 600 masks. The AML surpassed their goal of 350 by producing 471 printed mask frames.

The goal of the effort is to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially for those who may be limited to working in an area where social distancing cannot be maintained.

The masks and mask frames will be provided to mission essential personnel, in addition to gloves and other PPE for their protection.